Research demonstrates that you can grow your customer’s spending anywhere from twenty to forty percent -- just by the use of loyalty and gift cards. That’s a pretty darn good ROI, and it's well within the budget of even the smallest business enterprise -- even a corner shoe shine stand! The best part is that there are numerous other ways that such a card can blossom customer loyalty strategies. Here are some of the top ways savvy businesses are using loyalty cards today to slam dunk a healthy bottom line:

[Related: How to Build a Lovable Brand]

Personal cards are perfectly preferred

No matter who they are or where they come from, customers love to have their names (spelled correctly) and their photographs display on their own personal customized loyalty cards. They treat it like it's another driver’s license! Add to that their address and phone number, even an email address, and you’ve created a document that costs so little but returns so much when it comes to repeat business. Sure it’s a vanity thing -- what’s wrong with that? Any business person or marketer who overlooks a way to stroke the customer’s ego is just throwing money away. It’s human nature to want to be recognized as unique and individual -- not just a cog in some corporate or marketing machine. Remember, loyalty is always personal. A customized loyalty card always means more visits.

Always reward customer loyalty with security

Those dog eared cardboard and/or paper punch passes went out with the dinosaurs. If you’re still using that kind of outmoded and shoddy technology, you are clearly telling your customers that they’re not worth very much of your time, effort, or money. You might as well reward them with a box of Cracker Jacks or a two-for-one thrift store coupon! Besides, it’s not a secure way to deal with customers anymore -- that kind of stuff is way too easy to duplicate and counterfeit. Plus it’s almost impossible to track. So take the leap and get rid of your old-fashioned paper-based customer loyalty card with the new PVC card. It’s impossible to counterfeit and takes so much effort to manipulate that hackers and others leave it strictly alone. It also really stands out in a wallet, giving your company a little bit of an advertising push. They’re harder to lose and/or destroy, too.

Tracking and promoting

The latest technology lets you employ things like contact chips, barcodes, and even magnetic stripes for tracking purposes with your customers. This is how you build an invaluable database on their buying habits and preferences -- it’s solid gold information that you would have to pay an outside company millions to collect for you -- and you get it automatically every time a customer uses his or her customized card. It’s also a great way to improve your inventory selection or pricing strategies.

It should be obvious that a classy customer loyalty card promotes your brand in a very special and memorable way that customers will consider completely professional. It rivets the attention of your customer like nothing else in that price category. And don’t forget, customers can go from silver to gold to platinum cards as they pile up additional award points through their purchases! 

[Related: 6 Ways to Enable Company Growth]